“Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois.” – Le Corbusier

It’s safe to say that the following chairs didn’t settle for just being furniture. A chair can be an architectural feat. It can be a work of art.

More than any other type of furniture, chairs have fascinated artists, designers, and architects due to their particular form and function. Many famous artists and architects have taken to creating a chair in order to try out concepts, structures, and ideas that would later be employed in mass-scale when designing buildings and larger-than-life sculptures.

“Designing a chair presents the opportunity to express my position — it’s like a testing ground for ideas that interest me, and a chance to engage in a production process with a technical team,” architect David Adjaye told art historian Agata Toromanoff in an interview for her new bookChairs by Architects. Chairs by Artists and ArchitectsThe book got us thinking about the striking installation of the chair-as-art that’s on display at the fourth floor of the SFMOMA, pictured above. The installation celebrates art’s long-held fascination with chairs.

Related: 7 Reasons Every Art Lover Must Visit the New SFMOMA

Each chair on display at the SFMOMA meditation on a single material – whether it be wood, plastic, vulcanized fiber, mold-formed cowhide or pressure-cast aluminum.

SFMOMA Curator of Architecture and Design Joseph Becker told me that even though every chair was intended by the artist to support the weight of the human body, guests aren’t allowed to actually sit on them. The SFMOMA is more interested in preservation, rather than utilization. Joseph’s behind is the rare exception – he admitted to having taken a seat on a few of them. 🙊

Below are a few of those chairs that really grabbed our attention, plus a few other notable chairs by famous artists and architects around the world.

Nendo Cabbage Chair


Tom Price PP Tube Chair


Michael Young Oxygen Chair


Front Design Chair


Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West Armchair


Eero Saarinen Ball Chair


Wendell Castle Concrete Chair


Jack Rogers Hopkins Sculpted Chair


Studio Drift Ghost Chair


Ryuji Nakamura Hechima Chair


Charles and Ray Eames Walnut Stools

charles-and-ray-eames-walnut-stools Chairs by Artists and Architects

Marijn Van Der Poll Do Hit Chair


David Adjaye Washington Collection


Mario Botta Lounge Chair


Oscar Niemeyer Alta Armchair


Max Lamb Poly Chair


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